Fanfic: Wanting and Waiting by peoniesandcedarwood (Read for Free, 1,332,114 Clicks)

Description: Draco Malfoy believed he would spend the rest of his life in Azkban prison. He had her buried as deep as possible, where he believed his occlumency could protect him from his thoughts of her.

Characters: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive WarningsHermione Granger/Draco MalfoyHermione Granger Draco Malfoy Harry Potter Ron Weasley Theodore Nott Blaise Zabini Pansy Parkinson Ginny Weasley Narcissa Black Malfoy Lucius Malfoy Portrait Albus Dumbledore Portrait Severus Snape Minerva McGonagall Dean Thomas Seamus Finnigan Luna LovegoodRequited Unrequited Love Post-War Not Epilogue Compliant Angst with a Happy Ending Eventual Romance Eventual Smut Slow Burn Ron Weasley is a Good Friend Harry Potter Epilogue What Epilogue | EWE POV Draco Malfoy POV Hermione Granger Mutual Pining Hogwarts Eighth Year Post-Battle of Hogwarts Angst and Hurt/Comfort Implied/Referenced Rape/Non-con Blood Curses | Blood Malediction (Harry Potter) Occlumency (Harry Potter) Legilimency (Harry Potter) Implied/Referenced Character Death Past Draco Malfoy/Pansy Parkinson Past Hermione Granger/Ron Weasley Soul Bond

Summary: Summary:

Draco Malfoy believed he would spend the rest of his life in Azkban prison. He had her buried as deep as possible, where he believed his occlumency could protect him from his thoughts of her. Hermione Granger believes that everyone deserves a chance at healing. That everyone is worthy of redemption, including Draco Malfoy. A story in which Draco returns to Hogwarts for his Wizengamot mandated one year probationary term and must navigate a new reality and face every part of himself as reality, including his deep buried feelings for a certain golden girl.

Notes: Notes:

This is my first fic, please be kind, and I hope you enjoy.

Chapter 1: August 1998

Chapter Text

Chapter 1: August 1
st
1998
?
Three months. Three months since Draco Malfoy watched the place he called home for nearly seven years burn and crumble in battle. Three months since he and his mother and father stepped away from and betrayed the madman that had come to inhabit their home. Three months since he was dragged away from the Hogwarts great hall in magical binds, with his mother and father in tow, by none other than Kingsley Shacklebolt himself.?
?
Three months since he watched classmates¡ªthe people he spent 7 years living, laughing, learning, and growing up with¡ªfight for the common good, some of them not to make it out alive.?
?
Well, maybe he didn¡¯t laugh with all of them. Some of them he tormented, bullied, and degraded all for a cause he never truly believed in. He couldn¡¯t have believed in it, not when

she

embodied the very essence of what it meant to be a brilliant witch.?
?
Three months. Three months since Draco laid eyes on

her

, the only person he kept all memories of hidden. He hid her away in carefully crafted files in the deepest depths of his subconscious since the culmination of his fourth year when his Godfather started his occlumency lessons.?
?
The last time he saw

her

was in the great hall after the Battle of Hogwarts. She was bruised, bloody, covered in dirt, and looked as if she hadn¡¯t slept in months. Even outwardly appearing ragged and exhausted, she was a pillar of strength and comfort for those who had lost loved ones that day. He watched her as she sat with Weasley at one of the long tables that had managed to remain in one piece among the chaos, his hand in hers, his head on her shoulder as he finally succumbed to his grief and cried. Then, he watched her as she comforted Potter, who appeared distraught and inconsolable at the loss of their former Defence professor¡ªLupin was his name¡ªand a woman with colorful hair whom he did not know lay next to him.?
?
He watched

her

remain steadfast while those around her crumbled, and he wondered how after everything she had suffered and lost, her eyes retained the unending compassion, kindness, and determination that he remembered seeing sparkle in them all those years at school.
?
He wanted to ask

her

how she did it. How she managed to take care of everyone around her for all those years without crumbling under the weight of her own strife and grief on top of that of those she cared for. He knew he couldn¡¯t.?
?
She would never let him ask though, not that he blamed her.?
?
That was three months ago.?
?
Since then, he has had no visitors¡ªhe is not allowed visitors other than the Ministry mandated mind healer he has seen twice a week for three months and his solicitor.?
?
He sits and awaits his trial in a temporary holding cell in Azkaban. The cell is cold, dark, and damp. The newly re-formed Ministry removed the Dementors from Azkaban, but that did little to help the air of pure unhappiness and hopelessness that pervades this place.?
?
The thing is, he knows he deserves it. He chose the wrong side. He chose, even when he knew it was wrong, to follow the will of his father and that madman. Draco knows he is a coward, he can¡¯t even bring himself to think his name, so he has resigned himself to referring to him as just that, a madman.?
?
He audibly scoffs at the thought, tearing himself from his reverie just long enough to hear a cell door tear open down the corridor.
?
¡°Malfoy, Lucius Abraxas.¡±
?
There is a faint sound, a shuffling of feet Draco believes, then the cell slams shut with an audible groan. He hears footsteps fading down the corridor and he knows today must be his father¡¯s trial. They were told they would not be removed from their cells until their trial date. All meetings with the mind healer, all meetings with the solicitor, and all meals were taken and received in his cell.
?
Draco takes a solitary moment to think about the possible outcomes of his father¡¯s trial. Yes, his father had turned sides and assisted the Order in the final battle, killing Nagini with a rogue basilisk fang in the castle stairwell the minute that madman turned his back, but he had been a Death Eater for years prior. His many transgressions would not go overlooked.?
?
Thinking about it, he decides quickly that whatever the outcome of his father¡¯s trial, he can live with it. The man had indoctrinated him with lies into that madman¡¯s way of thinking from the time he was eleven years old. He had him branded at the age of 16 with a mark that would never fade and could never be removed, forever staining his body with the hatred it stands for.? He had put him, and his mother¡¯s lives in danger for years. He let a madman and his followers into their home where they tortured and murdered innocent people.?
?

Yes,

he thinks.

Whatever the outcome today, he will have deserved it

. At least that is what he tries to convince himself. No matter those transgressions, Lucius was still his father.
?
Determined not to dwell on that last thought, Draco lets his eyes roam around the worn cell he has occupied for the past three months. The cell was no larger than ten feet long by ten feet wide. Large enough for a small cot, toilet, and one chair for his only two allowable visitors.?
?
It was lonely, but Draco would take lonely over living in a house swarming with Death Eaters and that madman.?
?
During their occupation of the Manor, the other Death Eaters spent a majority of their limited free time discussing the vile things they would do to the next

mudblood

they caught, or recount the many ways they had gone out into the muggle world and massacred crowds, vandalized homes and businesses, just because they could. Because they believed what Draco¡¯s father had once convinced him was true¡ªthat muggles were dirty, unintelligent creatures who were beneath him. That they were afraid of magic and needed to be shown just how powerful it was. That the magical world had a right to live out in the open, to the detriment of those muggles.
?
He had to stop doing this. He had to stop thinking about all of the things that had gone wrong. His mind healer told him to focus on the positives and keep his outlook up. The healer constantly assured him that all would be well, that he was young and had many years of happiness ahead of him. He just needed to keep reminding himself of that.?
?
Shaken from his reverie once more, Draco hears footsteps again.?
?
How long had it been since they came for his father? The sliver of light shining through the slim crack in his cell wall had moved significantly, it must be close to midday.?
?
¡°Malfoy, Narcissa¡±
?

What??

?
They¡¯ve never taken more than one inmate from a holding cell for their trial on the same day. It¡¯s impossible. Something must be wrong.?
?
His hands begin to shake. His breath quickens. His heart is hammering out of his chest. His arms begin to numb.?
?

No

. He can¡¯t keep doing this.?
?
Using his healer¡¯s technique to bring him back from a panic attack, he begins to take deep breaths in through his nose, out through his mouth.?
?
¡°I see light, stone walls, a bed¡­ FUCK!¡±?
?
He can¡¯t even complete the first part of his grounding exercises.?
?

Mother.?

?
He could handle anything except any harm befalling his mother. She was his one constant, his guiding star, and the only person he ever loved. He never allowed himself to care for others and during the war, he only had space to care for her, to keep her alive. To do all that he could to ensure no harm would ever come to her.?
?
¡°Merlin, FUCK! I can¡¯t do this. I can¡¯t.¡±
?
He rushes out those last words when he hears those same faint footsteps that he has already heard twice today approaching his own cell.?
?
The door opens with an audible creak, and he expects to see his solicitor, but is instead greeted by an Azkaban guard. He hasn¡¯t seen a guard without the accompaniment of his mind healer or his solicitor since he arrived. Food appeared and disappeared at mealtimes; his cell was cleaned without entry by anyone.?
?
¡°Malfoy, Draco Lucius¡±
?
The guard motions for Draco to follow, and he does. He rises shakily from his cot and attempts to maintain a semblance of control over his features and emotions as his exits his cell into the long, dark corridor.?
?
As they walk, he gathers his wits and determines that he won¡¯t survive whatever surprise awaits him without the help of his occlumency. He begins to file everything away piece by piece into cabinets ten stories high in his mind.?
?

No

, he thinks.

I can¡¯t do this

.

The mind healer says I need to face everything head on and stop hiding

.?
?
He gathers enough courage to let his eyes wander over to the guard who is currently escorting him¡­

to what? To imminent death? Damnation? Probably both

, he winces.?
?
They reach a brightly lit room at the end of the corridor and Draco winces once again, this time due to the light he is no longer accustomed to after months in a dark cell. Once his eyes have adjusted, he sees his solicitor sitting in a chair along the far wall.?
?

Could use some redecorating

, he sneers to himself as he takes in the site of the shabby wooden chairs lined up along the walls in what he now believes to be a waiting room.?
?
¡°Mr. Malfoy, I¡¯m sorry I have not had more time to come and prepare you.¡± The solicitor says as he stands.?
?
He hands Draco a bag and begins to address the guard. The bag appears to contain a set of dress robes, shorts, socks, shoes, and a comb. The bare minimum, it seems.?
?
¡°Prepare me for what?¡± He asks his solicitor with a frown. ¡°What is going on? I heard them come for my father, then for my mother. What is happening? Is my mother alright?¡±
?
The solicitor takes in Draco¡¯s ragged appearance, and it dawns on him just how stressed Draco must be.?
?
¡°Yes, your mother and father were collected by their solicitor¡¯s earlier today. It is your turn now. Draco, your trial was moved up. You will be appearing today.¡±?
?
His eyes widen and his palms begin to sweat.?
?
¡°How¡­ what? How? I don¡¯t understand. I was told it would be a year before the Wizengamot held my trial. What happened?¡±
?
The solicitor opens the small notebook in his possession and continues to talk as if he has this conversation every day. ¡°I¡¯m not sure, but we must get going. In that bag you will find a change of clothes. We will be escorted from the Azkaban gates by an auror. The auror will accompany us to the Ministry. You will have a moment to change at the Ministry, then your trial begins at approximately half past three.¡±
?

Half past three?

?
?
Draco has never heard of the Wizengamot scheduling a trial so late in the day, usually these are a long affair, lasting several hours. He has little chance to ruminate on that thought before he is being dragged by his magical binds through what appears to just be another stone wall, but he soon realizes it is the concealed doors to Azkaban prison. They walk several meters before a loud pop sounds around them. A woman in auror garb greets his solicitor, points her wand at the magical binds around Draco¡¯s hands and soon they are walking through the gates and apparating in a swish.?
?
XXX
?
They reappear inside the Ministry. A quick glance around tells Draco this must be the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. There are aurors in every corner of the large office space. Some at cubicles, some at shared desks in the center of the room. One thing they all have in common is that as soon as they spot Draco, his solicitor, and his auror escort, they¡¯re silent.?
?
The room is so quiet you could hear a pin drop, Draco imagines. Some look on with curiosity in their eyes as they move toward the exit to catch the lift. Some, however, look on with thinly veiled disgust. He can tell they are trying to mask their hatred but failing miserably. He imagines they¡¯re thinking the typical

Death Eater scum

,

rot in hell

, etcetera.?
?

Salazar fuck. Get me out of here,

he thinks to himself. They can¡¯t reach the exit quick enough.?
?
Once through the exit and out into the dim corridor, Draco takes a deep cleansing breath. He spends the minute waiting for the lift to look at his surroundings. The corridors in this part of the ministry are adorned with a plush deep burgundy carpet. The walls are a plain white smooth surface. Photos are scattered around of women and men in highly decorated uniforms. The hall is lit only by wall sconces placed here and there.?
?

It¡¯s fitting for the DMLE

.

A bunch of paper pushers. Rule followers. The light. Hm. Better than me.

?
Draco scoffs and is dragged back to the present when the doors to the lift are wrenched open, missives flying about and scattering into the corridor as the trio enters. He rubs his palms on his robes and realizes he is still in his Azkaban issued robes. He should be more embarrassed than he is, but at this moment all he can feel is absolute terror at what awaits him in the Wizengamot chambers, and what fate his mother has faced. He pauses, then remembers he also cares what has happened to his father. Only time will tell, he hopes.?
?
When the doors to the lift reopen in the underground level of the Ministry, the corridor is deserted. The doors to the Wizengamot chamber at the end of the hall are closed and guarded by two aurors.?
?
¡°Mr. Malfoy, follow me this way and you can exchange your Azkaban robes for the clothing your solicitor has brought you.¡± The auror guides Draco to the empty men¡¯s loo directly to the left of the lift.?
?
As Draco enters, he realizes the auror has followed him inside.
?
¡°Let me guess, no privacy?¡± he frowns at the middle-aged woman.?
?
¡°My apologies, Mr. Malfoy, but you are a ward of the Ministry of Magic as the outcome of your trial is yet to be determined. Until then, you are to be accompanied at all times.¡± The auror releases his magical binds from the control of her wand, but it appears they remain on his wrists, with enough slack for him to change.?
?
He frowns deeper, then smirks.
?
¡°Well, enjoy the show.¡± Draco has always known he is gifted in the looks department. His mother is beautiful, and his father an example of handsome aristocratic features. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If he is going to be subjected to this type of voyeurism, he may as well dispel some of the awkwardness of the situation with a poor attempt at humor.?
?
The auror has the decency to blush and avert her eyes.?
?
Draco shucks his Azkaban robes quickly, then his shorts, shoes, and socks. He takes a brief moment to look into the mirror above the sink where he has placed the bag of clothes his solicitor brought him. He almost does not recognize himself. Yes, he kept a stringent workout routine while in his holding cell in Azkaban as a method of coping and distraction, but he also slept very little. His mind healer explained to him that potions were not allowed for prisoners to prevent dependency and abuse. Draco had asked for a dreamless sleep once or twice as a last resort and the mind healer always refused with a look of pity and regret in her eyes, apologizing for not being able to assist. He has deep purple bags under his eyes, his hair has grown to his shoulders and appears dull and lifeless.?
?
Beyond the unfortunate side effects of his incarceration, he realizes he has grown as well, and that his facial features appear to have softened a bit in his growth and are not quite as pointy as they were the last time he had access to a mirror.?
?
¡°Four minutes.¡± The auror snaps him out of his own mind and back to the present task at hand.?
?
He quickly gives his hair a comb through, realizing there is not much he can do for its ragged appearance without a haircut or at the least, some gel. He dresses in his new shorts, then the dark grey dress robes, followed by his socks and what appears to be cheap leather dress shoes.?
?

Beggars can¡¯t be choosers

, he snarks to himself, and it¡¯s sickening. His stomach churns at the thought that he, a Malfoy, is the beggar in this scenario.
?
¡°If you¡¯re ready, Mr. Malfoy, we only have about a minute to rejoin your solicitor before they call you in.¡± He looks at the woman and realizes with a start that she has not once taken a tone with him, has not looked at him with disgust nor pity, and has only treated him with the modicum of respect that he would expect from anyone else. Aside from the voyeuristic auror watchdog duties, of course.?
?
¡°Yes. Quite.¡± He clips with a nod. The auror refastens his magical binds and is once again in control of his movements.
?
Draco follows the auror back into the corridor and is joined immediately by his solicitor as they walk to the doors to the Wizengamot chambers. As they walk, his solicitor takes the spare moment to fill him in as best as he can.
?
¡°Mr. Malfoy, I know this is short notice, but I was only just notified shortly before collecting you from Azkaban. As I understand, some new information has been considered, as well as witnesses who have spoken outside of chambers on your behalf. I do not have details at this time, but I can say this is unprecedented. The Chief Warlock, erm, Mrs. Bones, has not moved up any trial dates until those of you and your parents. We will have to go in calm and remain collected as we hear what they have to say. Can you do that, Draco?¡±
?

Bones, hm? Must be Amelia Bones. She was on a hit list the Death Eaters kept.

?
¡°Yes, I am fine.¡± He grits out. Of course, he isn¡¯t fine, unprecedented, given his and his parents’ circumstances, does not bode well for the Malfoys.?
?
A noise erupts from behind the closed chamber doors and suddenly they are swung wide open by the two aurors standing guard. Inside is chaos, and among it across the chambers he sees a flash of platinum held tightly in a bun.

Mother.

His mind is reeling, and he desperately wants to go to her, to find out what exactly is going on and where she is headed next, but he is held in place by magical binds.
?
He peers over the crowd and catches one glimpse as she exits the other side of the chambers.?
?

She has no binds.

He ponders this realization for a moment and then it strikes him all at once.
?

She is free. Free

. She is sporting a watery smile and shaking her solicitor¡¯s hand as they exit through the chamber doors.
?
He can¡¯t help but take another cleansing breath. What feels like his hundredth cleansing breath that day. The realization that his mother appears to be free hits him like a ton of bricks and he finds newfound calmness mixed with gentle trepidation for his own situation. She might be free, but she was never marked, never sent on missions or assigned tasks. He was, however. He knows their situations are different and follows his solicitor inside with cautious optimism.?
?
¡°Quiet!¡± The Chief Warlock casts a sonorous charm and bellows in the chambers. The onlookers scramble and begin to silence when she speaks again, ¡°The trial of one Draco Lucius Malfoy is to be a closed tribunal. If you were not called as a witness to this case, please exit chambers immediately.
?

A closed trial? I¡¯m an 18-year-old wizard, an adult. How can I have a closed trial? Witnesses? Great.?

?
They have probably spent the last several months amassing a plethora of witnesses to prove what he already knows¡ªhe is a coward, and he is guilty of following a madman and performing unspeakable acts for that madman.
?
He takes his seat at the lone chair in the center of chambers. When he is fully seated, his auror escort waves her wand in a counterclockwise motion then points to the arms of the chair where his binds then fasten themselves. She gives him one last pitying look, then turns and moves to stand near the exit.?
?
Draco doesn¡¯t bother to look up. He knows that it does not matter who is present as a witness, they can¡¯t possibly have anything good to say about him or for him, for that matter. He wouldn¡¯t deserve it even if they had.?
?
¡°Ah, now that is covered, we can begin. Draco Lucius Malfoy, you were incarcerated in a holding cell at Azkaban prison on May 2
nd
, 1998, to await trial for your alleged crimes in the second wizarding war. The charges when you were incarcerated are as follows¡± the Chief Warlock holds the parchment up and begins to recite the charges ¡°Attempted murder, use of an unforgivable curse on no less than 5 occasions, endangerment of a minor, and aiding and abetting a war criminal.¡±
?
The chambers are silent. Not the kind of pleasant silence, but the kind that cuts you to your core. The silence that is sickening in its wake because you know nothing pleasant could possibly come of it.?
?
Draco shifts his eyes to his left where his solicitor is seated off to the side in a chair not far from his own. His face gives away nothing, no sense of calm, no sense of urgency.?
?
The Chief Warlock clears her throat and begins to speak again, prompting Draco¡¯s gaze to shift straight ahead where she is seated along with the other members of the Wizengamot.?
?
¡°Now, this is most unusual, but this has not been an ordinary case, nor an ordinary few months. Mr. Malfoy, it seems you have some strong allies. After much deliberation, the Wizengamot has decided that although you were 17 years of age at the time of the Carrow¡¯s tenure at Hogwarts, and during the Battle of Hogwarts, you will be tried as an adolescent. It was brought to our attention that you, much like many of the fighters in the second wizarding war, are young. Too young to have made these decisions solely of your own volition. As such, that is why this is a closed tribunal and will move much quicker.¡±
?
He isn¡¯t breathing. Can¡¯t possibly be. His heart is hammering out of his chest.?
?

Allies? Who could possibly want to help me?

?
Before he can continue his rambling thoughts, the Chief Warlock continues, ¡°Present in chambers today is mister Harry Potter, miss Hermione Granger, and mister Ronald Weasley¡±?
?
His eyes snap up instantly to the witness stand. Sure enough, looking much better than they did the last time he saw them when he was dragged away from the great hall to Azkaban, he sees Potter and Weasley with a tense looking Granger sitting between them.?
?
Weasley has a hand on her shoulder and is looking across chambers, clearly trying to avoid looking at him.

The feeling is mutual,

he snickers to himself.?
?
Potter is looking directly at him. His gaze intense, green eyes boring into his slate grey. He looks quickly away, determined not to look directly at

her

. He doesn¡¯t think he would be able to look away.
?
¡°As this court has come to understand, an incident took place at Malfoy Manor the weekend of Easter, 1998, where mister Potter, miss Granger, and mister Weasley were brought in by snatchers and held captive for many hours during which time miss Granger was tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange. While each witness recounted their own memories of the incident, we have come to understand that you assisted the trio by not identifying them to your parents, nor to your aunt, Bellatrix Lestrange.¡±
?
He thinks he might be sick. His stomach churns and Draco musters all of his willpower not to occlude to spare the dread crawling up his spine, but also so that he does not vomit there on the Wizengamot chamber floors. That day has graced his nightmares for months. Worse,

her

screams as she took the cruciatus curse over and over, and the dead look in her eyes as his aunt carved

that word

into her arm, are usually the focus of these nightmares.?
?
As he sucks in shallow breaths, attempting to cultivate them into deeper more calming breaths, the Chief Warlock appears unaffected and continues speaking, ¡°With an understanding of your age, along with the testimony of both of your parents and the three witnesses present today, I propose to this court a sentence of one year probation.¡±
?

Probation? One year?

?
¡°All those in agreement?¡± As the Chief Warlock finishes, hands fly up. All but two members of the Wizengamot are in agreement.?
?
¡°Ah, wonderful. Draco Lucius Malfoy, you are hereby sentenced to one year probation to be served at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where you will complete your last year of schooling. Further conditions of your probation will be discussed in my office at the conclusion of this tribunal. If there are no objections from the members of the Wizengamot¡­¡±?
?
The Chief Warlock trails off, waiting for a reply, then continues. ¡°Wonderful, adjourned. Mr. Malfoy, please see me in my office. Your solicitor may accompany you. Auror Williams, please remove Mr. Malfoy¡¯s binds.¡±
?

Williams, that must be her name.

?
He can¡¯t move. His limbs are suddenly filled with lead. There is no possible way he heard that correctly.?
?

One year probation to be served at Hogwarts.

?
With wide eyes, he looks up and is startled to see the auror escort in front of him, wand pointed toward his left hand. There is a tingling and then he can move his left hand again, of his own free will. Then, she repeats the process with his right hand, and he stretches his arms out and moves each wrist in circular motions.?
?
He peers up at the auror and says something he usually doesn¡¯t have to, ¡°Thank you.¡±
?
The auror gives a terse nod, then leaves the chambers. Draco¡¯s solicitor is up and bounding toward the chambers exit. Looking back over his shoulder, he waves Draco along, nodding for him to follow. As he stands to do just that, he gives one last look to the witness seats. He quickly gathers a look of confusion, Weasley and Potter are leaning into

her

, he can¡¯t see their faces, but it seems to be a tense, private moment.?
?

A private moment, one I don¡¯t deserve to be part of. Move along, Draco.

He chastises himself.
?
XXX
?
The trek to the Chief Warlock¡¯s office was short enough, located just one floor above the Wizengamot chambers.?
?
Draco is seated in a tufted red velvet wingback chair with his solicitor seated next to him in a chair identical to his own. The office is dimly lit with dark wood paneling lining the walls. The Chief Warlock¡¯s desk is rich cherry wood with ornately carved floral designs embedded in the front panel.?
?
Passing the time until the Chief Warlock joins them, Draco attempts to identify the flowers that are carved into the front panel.?
?

roses, peonies, hydrangeas, sunflowers, tulips¡­

?
He¡¯s at gardenias when the office door is flung open and the Chief Warlock swoops in, her ornate, deep blue robes flowing behind her.?
?
¡°Mr. Malfoy, welcome. I don¡¯t wish to take up terribly too much of your time as I know you have been in Azkaban prison for the past several months and are likely itching for some freedom, am I correct?¡±
?
¡°Yes ma¡¯am. Truly, that sounds like an impossible dream.¡± He responds with trepidation.?
?
¡°Well, let¡¯s get on with it, shall we?¡± Draco notices his solicitor has not said a word.?
?

Shouldn¡¯t he be saying something? What is going on? Some bloody solicitor he is.

?
Then, the solicitor¡¯s voice startles him, ¡°Chief Warlock, I am solicitor Brown, here to ensure a fair outcome for Mr. Malfoy. I trust the Wizengamot will take into account Mr. Malfoy¡¯s need to complete his schooling this year in a supportive and calm environment so that he may excel on his NEWT¡¯s at the end of term.¡±
?
The Chief Warlock appears unshaken, almost as if she expected a statement of sorts from the solicitor. ¡°Of course, that is what we are here to discuss. Mr. Malfoy¡ª¡±?
?
¡°Please just call me Draco, my father is Mr. Malfoy.¡± He winces at the desperation in his own voice. The statement was out before he even knew he was speaking. He never liked being called Mr. Malfoy, the formality of it reminded him too much of his father¡¯s business interactions. And by business interactions, he means shady back alley deals with dark witches and wizards.?
?
¡°Of course, Draco.¡± She replies with a smile and a warmth in her eyes that he never imagined he would receive from the Chief Warlock. ¡°Well, as I said you will be completing one year probation at Hogwarts. Until the term starts on September 1
st
, you are to remain under house arrest at Malfoy Manor under the custody of your mother, Narcissa Malfoy.¡±?
?
He inhales sharply.?
?

Mother is truly free.

?
¡°On August 31
st
, your mother is to escort you to Kings Cross station where you will join your classmates on platform 9 ? to head to Hogwarts. You will be met on the platform, by your probation sponsor.¡± At those last two words, her mouth forms a tight line, like she is thinking hard about what to say next. ¡°You must know that we spent weeks debating whether it was right to offer you this lenient sentence. Part of coming to terms with this, for many members of the Wizengamot, was the assurance that you would work on personal rehabilitation while at Hogwarts. To facilitate that process, your probation sponsor will work with you during this 8
th
year at Hogwarts in a structured plan. Your sponsor is to report to me no less than twice a month on the progress of your rehabilitation plan and efforts.¡±
?
¡°Sponsor? Will that be a professor? You are aware that as a former Death Eater, no one cares much for my company anymore, correct? In fact, I would wager that most people hate me.¡± He looks the Chief Warlock directly in her hazel eyes at that last part, willing her to see how strongly convicted he is in that belief.?
?
¡°Draco, this sponsor volunteered. I assure you she does not hate you if she volunteered for the job. In fact, she was the one who pushed probation in the first place and planted the idea in my head.¡± She tells him with a slight frown.
?
¡°She?¡± He replies, almost sick to hear a response.
?
¡°Yes, she. Hermione Granger has offered to be your probation sponsor for your final year at Hogwarts.¡±
?
He instantly chokes on a bit of his own saliva. Coughing and sputtering, he tries his best to collect himself but all he can think is that there is no way he can be in

her

company for an entire year for significant chunks of time.?
?
He can barely bring himself to think of her name, that is how deeply he buried her. How can he be expected to spend any time with her??
?
Before he can continue, the Chief Warlock speaks. ¡°Draco, Miss Granger has done you an enormous service here. You are to treat her with respect, and to respect the process of your personal rehabilitation plan that we have crafted. Should you choose to not complete any part of the program, you will be removed from Hogwarts and will complete the remainder of your probationary period, plus any added time deemed necessary by the Wizengamot, in Azkaban prison. Is that clear?¡±
?
¡°Yes, quite.¡± He grumbles, head bowed, chin almost touching his chest in defeat.?
?
¡°Lastly, it has come to my attention by Headmistress Minerva McGonagall that a private dorm has been crafted specially for your circumstances, as they are just that, special circumstances. The Headmistress wishes to avoid any potential confrontations in the dorms as a result of your wartime participation. You will not live alone, however.¡± She takes a long pause, and Draco begins to grow concerned.?
?
¡°¡­ Well, that doesn¡¯t sound too bad.¡± He grimaces, awaiting the last shoe to drop.
?
¡°The Headmistress and I have decided that Miss Granger will also reside in the private dorm. As your probation sponsor, you will be able to meet with each other easier this way, and we believe it will go a long way toward your rehabilitation to break down old prejudices by living, working, and studying with Miss Granger.¡±
?
He truly has stopped breathing.?
?
He is probably quite the sight to behold. No air will come, even when he tells himself to breathe.?
?
He is going to pass out, he knows he is. In the distance he hears voices asking if he is alright.?
?
Were there people with him? He can¡¯t remember.?
?
He has one final thought before darkness clouds his vision.
?

I¡¯m so fucked. So totally, Salazar-be-damned, fucked.

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